Scottish country dancing comes in three styles; RSCDS, Reeling and Ceilidh. The dancing is basically the same, but the three styles do differ in a number of ways:
This is the official style of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society which was set up in 1923 to preserve the traditional dances of Scotland.
It is the most commonly performed style, and is promoted by the RSCDS through publications, residential summer and winter schools, a worldwide network of branches, classes and certified dance teachers.
It is also the most refined and elaborate of the three styles. Dancers who have been to a course of RSCDS lessons will have received a good grounding in the formations and timing of the dances so that they can dance elegantly and well.
The RSCDS publishes a huge range of dances, and a typical RSCDS group will do 100 or more different dances in a season.
For more information see the RSCDS web site.
This is the traditional style which predates the formation of the RSCDS and has been practised at Highland Balls and other events for many years.
Reeling is rather less formal than the RSCDS style and is generally learnt by joining a reeling group and watching what everyone else does.
It is also rather more rumbustious and physical with a lot of clapping, stamping and twirling of partners.
Reeling groups do a very limited range of dances (about eleven in all, all of which are listed below). This makes it easer for newcomers and people who only dance occasionally to learn them and join in.
For reeling groups in London, click here.
Ceilidh ('kay-lee') dancing is the simplest style - it has been practised at public dances, weddings and other events throughout Scotland for many years and is very popular.
At a ceilidh, only a very small number of simple dances are performed and they are all walked though and called. This means that anyone can join in even if they have never done Scottish country dancing before in their life.
Ceilidhs usually attract a lot of people who are new to dancing so they can be quite rough-and-ready affairs with no pretensions to elegant dancing. They are a particularly good place to take a party for a birthday or other celebration.
In London, ceilidhs are run regularly by the Ceilidh Club. (Note that the Ceilidh Club is a commercial venture and its entrance charge of £18.15 is about twice that of most other forms of Scottish country dancing).
Wimbledon Reels tries to combine some of the best elements of all three styles. Most of our members have been to RSCDS classes and also do both reeling and ceilidh dancing from time to time.
Just like at a ceilidh, all our dances are are walked though and called to help beginners and occasional visitors join in.
Our range of dances is smaller than a typical RSCDS group would do. It is deliberately limited so that our members become familiar with all the dances and can relax and dance easily without the fear of getting them wrong. It also makes it easier for new members to learn.